KLM yesterday (unofficially) announced that they are looking into ways to make the seating process more social by allowing people to upload their Social Media profile information on check-in. The idea is to have people pick a seat based on the profiles of people sitting next to them so that people can check beforehand with whom they will be spending their precious hours in flight.
An innovative idea and certainly something that got them some attention but I must say I wonder whether it would be a success. Especially among the business travelers they are aiming this for.
As a business traveler myself the one thing I do when on a flight is trying not to have to socially engage to much with people next to me. You’re in each others space already and for the next 8hrs of so you can’t get away. So the last thing I want is to start a conversation that I can’t politely get out off if it turns out to be not what you expected…
it’s not as if you’re making friends for life. So apart from a polite ‘Hello‘ and ‘could I pass you for a moment‘ I generally don’t engage at all. I read my e-book, watch a film, prepare some work or sleep. That’s it. The last thing I want is people rambling on for hours about how they love tulips and windmills because they read on my profile I’m from The Netherlands.
So what would I use it for…. Well frankly (and I really don’t want to offend anyone with this, simply stating the obvious) to check if the person next to me is big. Yes, you heard it. I’ll admit that is my worst nightmare on any flight and the first thing that came to mind when reading about KLM’s initiative. Because space is already very limited it gets really frustrating if you have someone encroaching on that. Even though they can’t help it and go out of their way not to, as they find it just as embarrassing. Because let’s face it, most airplanes (especially short haul carriers) have an absolute minimum of space alloted to each passenger and do not cater to the current situation in which at least 1/3 of people in the Western world is overweight.
So from a personal viewpoint I think making the flight experience more ‘social’ would be accomplished much better if they gave each passenger a bit more space, not by sharing our profiles… Still, I love and commend KLM for trying to think about ways to make the flying experience more social and will certainly give it a try if it gets activated.